Sorry, no Recap this week. I’m spending quality time with my family and making sweet, sweet tummy love to a harem of sultry, soft-bosomed turkeys.
In fact, I’m calling this whole weekend “research” for my as-yet-unpublished novel (unwritten, too!) in which a virile but emotionally stunted playboy and a sweet virginal young heiress spend a wicked holiday weekend together, tearing into the tender flesh of a braised turkey with their teeth and smothering each other with mashed potatoes and gravy. I know what you’re thinking (“ew…” “that sounds sticky” “you’re a monster”), but the romance genre is lacking in the Thanksgiving department and I intend to fix that! I think we can all agree that Thanksgiving is inherently sexy, so I just don’t understand why no one has capitalized on this yet. (If you know of any sexy Thanksgiving romance novels, PLEASE TELL ME!)
Reginald: Pass the cranberry sauce my love. Also, your boobs. Prepare to be ravished!
Tabitha: Oh, Reg…! Take me! Yes! TAKE ME…to the dining room!
This is the third of my four rummage sale romance novels (previously and previously) and my winning (losing?) streak is continuing! I mean, of course we all expected this, because most of what was written before 1990 is just dreadful. And Beloved Scoundrel is no exception! You can tell just from the title that it’s going to be ridiculous. Scoundrel? Scoundrel?! A scoundrel is, like, a little Scotty dog in a jaunty cap. A scoundrel is a chipmunk that you shake your fist at after it steals your nut. A scoundrel is NOT a hot dude you want to bonk. Come on! I can’t even think about that word without giggling, and you know how romance heroes hate to be giggled at, so it just stands to reason that Captain James would be a total douchenugget. I caused this. I’m sorry.
(As an aside, while I was searching for a cover image – and couldn’t find a big one, which is why this post is preceded by such a teensy tiny image; also because I am too lazy to take a picture of the cover of my book – I discovered that “scoundrel” is a VERY popular word in romance novel titles. Seriously! SCOUNDRELS, the lot of them!)
This book is sort of infuriating in a lot of ways. For one, the print is SO SMALL. Like, teensy tiny. What am I reading here, high-brow literature? Plus there are SO many little side-stories, all these secondary characters we’re supposed to care about. I’m pretty sure Candance Camp has, like, a dozen books planned for this circle of characters and she wants to make sure that all of them show up and have something to do in every single book but, frankly, I find it really annoying. I mean, yeah, whatever, you don’t just want a heroine who pines away for the hero and does nothing for an entire novel, but let’s leave the secondary characters to their own book and quit clogging up this one. Plus – and this is where I really start to zone out – almost all of the first 200 pages are them attending parties, them interacting with neighbors, them being introduced to Lady So-and-So and it is so ungoldly boring. I mean, who cares? Really? WHO CARES? Who is picking up romance novels and being like, oooh I can’t wait to hear about what this completely random made-up member of the lower elite is up to and how they feel and what kind of parties they attend! Who is doing that?! No one, that’s who. No one is doing that. It’s stupid and it wastes pages and it distracts from the real plot which is WILL THEY OR WON’T THEY DO THE SEX? (They will.) Stop world-building, Candace Camp. If you take all that crap out and double the font size you’d have a totally normal, respectable romance novel and I wouldn’t be yawn-sighing every two pages.
This book is SUPER SUPER special to me, because it’s one of the very first romance novels I ever read (thanks Hannah Howell!). It’s the first romance novel I remember reading, although I read a lot of them (thanks, Mom, for having such a large collection for me to steal from!) and I can’t actually remember where this one fell in the chronology of romance novels in my life. Let’s just say that this book is one of the novels that started me down this road to obsession! Also it may have started a bunch of friends down that road, as I definitely passed it all around school. I saw this copy at the Borders (RIP) going out of business sale and it did not even occur to me to restrain the wave of nostalgia. Reader, I bought it.